Nearly a year ago, Seton Hall was throttled at the Petersen Event Center in a game that wasn't really close for the last 25 minutes. Fast forward to tonight, and not much has changed.
For the final 30 minutes of tonight's contest, if you can call it that, Pittsburgh dominated the Pirates in nearly every aspect of the game. After a free flowing game against DePaul, in which Seton Hall's guards dictated the tempo of play, the guards, as well as the team, came up very short against the Panthers.
Herb Pope's embarrassing turnover at the end of the first half that led to a dunk as time expired is not why this team lost the game, not even close. In fact, Herb Pope was the best Pirate out there. 15PTS/10REB/6BLK justifies this. Herb's sidekick, Jeff Robinson, didn't have a terrible game either (10PTS/8REB/3BLK) but the tandem just wasn't enough against the talented and deep front line of Pittsburgh.
For the first time since... Cornell (0PTS)? Alabama (5PTS)? Fuquan Edwin was held in check (4 points on 6 shots). Not a knock of the freshman, he can't do it every game. He has done more than anyone expected of him this season.
Whatever Jamie Dixon drew up to contain Hazell worked. The sharp shooter was held to 9 points on 13 shots. As noted, if Hazell could be held in check, the Pirates would be a lot easier to manage on the offensive end. He was, and they were.
Jordan Theodore didn't lay an egg, statistically (11PTS on 6 shots, 3AST/3STL/2TO), but something just isn't there. The ball movement on the offensive end did not match the movement seen against DePaul. There was a lot of one and one, in other words: regression. Any team can face up and go 1v1 - but that should be a desperation game plan, not the focal point of an offensive scheme. The offensive woes shouldn't all be put on the shoulders of the point guard, but something has to give.
Keon Lawrence had a decent start, but didn't see much of the court after that, he was quiet (2PTS/2ASTS). Kevin Willard opted to start with a three guard lineup, but didn't play Lawrence like he was a starter.
One of the most telling statistics was rebounding. From the first possession for Pittsburgh, which led to two offensive rebounds, to the final buzzer, Pittsburgh dominated the boards. This was expected, but not to this extent. For much of the game, Pittsburgh had more offensive boards than Seton Hall had total boards. The final tally was 26(4) to 45(18). I think we can all guess which team had which.
Not only did Pittsburgh live up to their rebounding reputation, but they also backed up their status as the team with the highest assist per game average in the country. The Panthers doubled the Pirates in this category, 20 to 10. Pittsburgh was just .1 short of their season average.
To all the Seton Hall fans that were claiming Hazell was unstoppable: he was stopped. To all the Seton Hall fans formulating NCAA tournament possibilities: Welcome to Reality, Population: Not Many.
This team has a lot more work to do. The Savior has returned from injury, but he isn't quite the savior we thought he'd be, yet.
Back to the drawing board, Coach.